Ignition Switch: Xenophobia in a Planetizing World

11904492334_7fe067a8c0_bDisclaimer: Any assessment of world events is purely provisional, subject to authors bias, and the bias from media sources, the analysis could be incomplete, any prediction offered is subject to being in error and purely speculative.

Xenophobia is an irrational dislike of people from foreign countries. It seems to be an overriding theme of late. A cursory glance at news media bears this point out.

Whether it is the distinctly distasteful anti-immigration platform of the Republican’s current front-runner Donald Trump to the tepid to heartless response of the European Union governments to the burgeoning Syrian Refugee crisis, it seems xenophobia is the elephant in the room. It flies in the face of an increasingly international world that must begin to operate on a global scale to address salient problems that will not go away with local, or national action alone.

The scientific model that may help to clarify what might be ahead would be the Demographic Transition. It is a working model of population which demonstrates that as a country begins to industrialize there is a subsequent change in the make-up of the population, namely it begins to age. The median age begins to push up into the middle years and ultimately the population begins to shrink, it is due to death rates outstripping birth rates (in the U.S it has an interesting wrinkle in that it is changing the ethnic make-up, this is also being driven by immigration). The demographic transition is inevitable and in most of the developed world is underway. There is one aspect the model cannot account for, mass migration.

Whether due to immigration, migration, or other movement of masses of people will ultimately have an effect on population matrix and cultural diffusion. These migrations catalyzed by bad governance and environmental stressors are a likely future scenario for our world, current events are merely an teaser for what may be ahead especially as Climate Change begins to inflict its more damaging effects. It brings to mind the concept of climate refugees those migrating to escape escalating environmental stressors. There is some evidence to suggest that Syria’s current crisis has some implication from climate stress. Interestingly it was the Pentagon, and not the Environmental Protection Agency who made the call.

This is where the intersection of converging crises begins to explode into the social realm, it is these migrations that are stoking the xenophobia we are seeing in the political sphere. It is best summed up in this quotes taken from an article on Vox:

“Taking in large numbers of refugees requires accepting that those refugees might bring changes to your nation’s identity or culture. And while that change is often economically and culturally enriching it can still  feel scary. It requires people to modify, ever so slightly, their vision of what their town and neighborhood look like. That change can be hard to accept.”

“Anti-immigration sentiment tends to rise when people feel economically insecure, as many do in Western countries now. This insecurity can bring a sense of zero-sum competition, even though in fact migration is typically economically beneficial. There is thus enormous political demand within Western countries for keeping out migrants and refugees.”

Much of the discomfort we are seeing in western countries stems from this cultural shift and changes in the matrix of populations that both a change in demographics and an increase in migration are fueling.

A little closer to home in the U.S. and Canada we see three disturbing trends reflective of the xenophobia the world seems to be awash in. There is the disingenuous campaign of Donald Trump who is resting his platform on a strong anti-immigration narrative. There are Republicans telling other republicans how they can respond to the Black Lives Matter movement, which ultimately sums up to a dismissal and a complete blindness to the issues at hand. It seems a kind of knee jerk reaction from a predominantly white grouping reacting to a loss of its privilege a trend driven by the fact that white people will be in a numeric minority in the U.S. by 2042.

Let’s change focus and look at Canada in this case Prime Minister Stephen Harper who is using his government to launch an attack on a ruling involving traditional Muslim garb, the Niqab. The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled that it was a matter of individual right for people to wear the Niqab in citizenship ceremonies, it is not a matter the State can intervene in. To add insult to injury Harper recently hired a controversial Australian propagandist to head off his campaign in anticipation of the October 19th, federal election. This shady figure has been known to use discriminatory tactics and prop up campaigns that have a xenophobic bent to them. Harper’s government has also used tactics bordering on the Orwellian to silence academics and government scientists, largely by closing data libraries and slashing funding for digital archiving, basic research, eliminating the long-form census and closing observation stations. He has gone so far to control the message as to restrict the Press to invitation only press conferences. In an age of transparency he is using Orwellian doublespeak and appealing to xenophobia as a political strategy and it reeks.

Astrologically this is all very pertinent in that the symbol sets uncannily reflect some of these less than enlightened tendencies and also provide some impetus for how we might advance beyond this pervasive myopic thinking. First a quick overview: Venus remains direct in Leo this month, and so we know her here as the Red Queen. This has many implications the most salient one is that this archetype usually speaks to issues of people speaking truth to power, in this sign the issues of humans relations to one another will come into focus. Issues of sexuality and autonomy, and power differentials surface. What’s more is Jupiter and Mars are here as well and they will also make aspects that have the potential to catalyze a focus on these issues and may even spur them coming to a head. The other dominant theme is Virgo and the issues of building a sustainable world system, with the Sun and Mercury spending most of the month in this sign. Touching off the Virgo signature will be a new moon on the 13th which begins its journey in Virgo, and culminates in the Full Moon on the 27th in the opposite sign of Pisces. Saturn undergoes a major transition on the 17th, when he leaves fair-minded and diplomatic Libra for the decidedly more tumultuous shores of Scorpio, whatever has not been resolved in Libra will be in Scorpio and unavoidable. Here is the October red-shift:

Flag_of_the_United_Nations.svg10/6: A Diplomatic Solution

Sun in Virgo square Pluto in Sagittarius, Mercury in Virgo sextile Saturn in Libra, Mars in Leo opposition Neptune in Aquarius:

A cosmic echo which symbolizes the beginning of a humanitarian crisis, one which will persist. The Syrian refugee crisis is just the first act in a long diaspora of mass migrations being driven by environmental stressors via Climate Change. The fact that governments (Saturn) are responding poorly is largely because it has never been faced before to this scale and there is no policy that adequately addresses it. This is the saturnine challenge, to develop a policy that is fair and addresses the crisis over a longer term frame (Libra). Leaders (Sun) are taking hostile and tepid responses that worsen the situation and are facing criticism for it from their own populations (Virgo) and increasing pressure from International governance (Neptune in Aquarius). It is setting up a conflict that is leading to gridlock on the issue. This square’s challenge is for governments to reach a solution that avoids causing them to self-destruct, and also doesn’t give fuel to anti-immigration factions, it’s a tall order. For us personally it is a time to do the same, can we make agreements with waring decisions or people and still find a common ground that allows us to be part of the equation and doesn’t stretch us to self-destruct?

The Mercury-Saturn axis will offer some help in this most desperate of situations as it speaks to a diplomatic solution being in the offing (Saturn in Libra), further a careful analysis and discerning conversation as well as a detailed policy for dealing with contingencies is easier to develop under this auspice. This is due to the fact that policy-makers are in better communication with the public and current developments via communications technologies which have better connected us all (Neptune in Aquarius). For better or worse our individual task is to recognize that we are inextricably linked to all others we share the planet with and make this concept very real. This signature also lends itself to having equanimity in a crisis, whether we are dealing with bank accounts or mass migrations.

Another wrinkle in this crisis is the fact that anti-immigration sentiment has emerged among certain factions of the population (Mars in Leo). This is manifesting in pressure on governments to keep migrants out hence the aggressive and hostile responses in central Europe, places where this sentiment is a majority stance. There is additional pressure coming from intra-national consortiums like the European Union who are pressing these countries to take in more refugees or allow them safe passage, or these governments may face unspecified retaliations against them, which recently became a flashpoint in Italy. Add to this is the International outcry and additional pressure from the United Nations and it is quite the conundrum. Perhaps we are facing similar circumstances in our own lives, immense pressures from outside and internal struggles converging to pull us apart. The solution is to try to find equilibrium.

10/10: Flashpoints

Venus in Leo square Saturn in Libra

This aspect is a symbolic of apparent geopolitics. Venus here is symbolic of people facing desperate situations, they are seeking asylum, and in Leo it has a headlining role on the world stage. Saturn is playing the role of governments and reactionary elements (such as various anti-immigrant groups), in Libra it symbolizes civil society, and it seems civil society is responding in a very uncivil way.

A square is a tense aspect and it translates to a breakdown in the capacity to relate. Western governments all around the world currently are dealing with a refugee crisis and responding in very different ways, some are outright hostile and physically restricting safe passage. Others are taking a tepid response, accepting only a paltry amount of people streaming into their borders. The issues at hand are a cover for the real tension which is more related to xenophobia and a collective fear of changing demographics, a change in the national culture and the survival of cultural institutions, fears stoked by sluggish economics and other debt crises plaguing these governments (ala the Greek debt crisis)

It is not surprising that these issues come up with social crisis and are reflective of themes dealt with in a Saturn through Libra transit, when squared to Venus it will reveal weak points in policy where civil issues have not been addressed. The square represents an opportunity to take a more diplomatic stance and actually work through these difficulties and come up with policies that better reflect the changing realities of a world in transition and facing crises partly generating by collective actions, bad governance and natural instabilities. What many of these governments need to recognize is that the economic and social benefits of allowing these people asylum do in fact outweigh the deficits and strain it may cause.

This applies at a global level as well as at a personal one, it’s a time to restructure the agreements we have made with others and find ones that better serve mutual objectives or to cut ties where this is not possible.

10/11: Explosive Conditions

Jupiter in Leo trine Pluto in Sagittarius, and Sun in Virgo opposition to Uranus in Pisces

Activating the tense aspects from the day prior, Jupiter steps in to amplify the situation and turn it into a larger than life affair, in conspiracy with Pluto. These symbols in harmony will symbolize core issues in need of change becoming glaringly obvious and what could be more obvious than the fact that the world does not have a comprehensive policy for refugees. This crisis is bringing this into focus for the first time, and it is hoped by adding fuel to this fire that it will be finally amended. A careful analysis will be necessary that goes into great deal about how environmental stress and political corruption are often linked and can exacerbate each other (Sun in Virgo). It is hoped some existing leaders who understand these connections will come into prominence and take the reins (I am not counting on it). The other feature is how technology plays into the mix (Uranus in Pisces). The Internet is the medium of our age and will continue to bring these issues into crystal clarity. Individually we must look to how we have ordered our lives, what areas are we overlooking and not creating contingencies for?

10/13: Discernment

New Moon in Virgo

I call this one hermit moon as Virgo is the sign in which the Mercury ruler-ship is said to be in its hermit phase. The theme is discernment a quality that goes beyond mere criticism, it is the ability to make qualitative decisions based on a careful analysis. Another Virgoan feature is recognizing the connection to the animal body and the planetary body and acting accordingly. This lunation begins with a need to discern and also a need to express healthy natural bodily desires.

10/15-10/17: Debacle

Mars in Leo trine Pluto in Sagittarius (10/15), Venus in Leo Opposition Neptune in Aquarius (10/16), Mars conjunct Jupiter in Leo, Saturn enters Scorpio (10/17)

These 72 hours will touch off other aspects that have dominated the days prior, and each speaks to an intensification of subjects that have been covered. It will be critical that a new policy decision begins to be fleshed out over the course of these transits and new commitments made to address future mass migration crises. Why in particular? Saturn ingresses into Scorpio and there now becomes an intense focus on matters of governance. The theme feels like sex and surveillance and deep transformations at fundamental levels of collective power, it is after all entering the sign of sex, death, and politics. It represents a moment in time when a real difference can be made and the conditions are certainly ripe for any of these deep transformations to occur, and the world is primed for radical departure.

The Saturn ingress is made all the more intense with a fiery and fierce Mars-Jupiter conjunction. There are some astrologers who allege that these combination can signal violence. We have already seen extreme acts including two men severely beaten in connection to Donald Trumps’ campaign and refugee camps are routinely being set on fire. Ideally instead of more violence we will see solutions and strong leadership (Leo).

Venus will oppose Neptune and there is a collective outpouring of compassion directed at the teeming masses (and that they are). This is a problematic situation in that it is a clouded perception, the Internet (Neptune in Aquarius) connects us, but the people on the ground continue to suffer, because often the activism done via the net often doesn’t have much practical value and is mostly symbolic gestures. Clicking like on an issue page may garner internet traffic but does little to ameliorate suffering. The aspect is asking us individually to be more involved in the process of world changing and avoid the purely ephemeral symbolic acts. A genuine reckoning is at hand, even if only within ourselves.

The Mars and Pluto trine could signal a collective backlash against the xenophobic policy directions that many developed governments are taking there are certainly inklings of this spattered throughout media reports. Acts of kindness and vision have been noted in this time of crisis. That said the anti-immigration stance could actually amplify and turn itself into a media spectacle, and be a source of embarrassment for governments and a target of intense criticism from more progressive segments of society, that seems moot at this point, but it could really go thermonuclear by this time point (figuratively not literally).

10/22: Double-Speak

Mercury in Virgo Square Pluto in Sagittarius

Stephen Harper’s silencing of criticism over his policy decisions bordering on an Orwellian level of control is an apt metaphor for this current transit. These squares between these two can lead to a hyper-paranoia that is unparalleled. One can become suspicious and dig so deep that they begin to make up ulterior motive where none exists. With Saturn in Scorpio and surveillance and secrets being on the agenda this tendency becomes much more prevalent, and there is a need to guard against it. In the collective realm it manifests as governments and officials attempting to squelch out criticism and cover their tracks, thankfully in an age of increasing transparency this is getting harder to do, and the conflict between reality and perception is getting harder to pull off and the pendulum is swinging in favor of the former.

10/23: Humanitarian Crisis

Venus in Leo trine Pluto in Sagittarius

While only being a transit that lasts the day it is wise to consider that it might be the spark that lasts a lifetime. In this case the plight of our brothers and sisters the world over is gaining global attention, largely due to better communications between us. This is a recurring transit and each time it occurs it will strengthen that which was begun. On the world stage it would mean that we begin to take seriously that the suffering of others is akin to our own and we begin to enact policy that reflects a vastly more interconnected world (we can begin with the tensions in the Middle East and the Syrian refugee crisis). Individually we can look to our own lives and recognize how our indifference may be permitting unnecessary suffering to continue. We are transformed by our deep and intense links to one another.

10/25: Interdependence

Venus conjunct Jupiter in Leo, and Mercury in Virgo Opposition Uranus in Pisces

Allow me to depart from current events for a moment and get philosophical, these aspects don’t much reflect the world we have but more the world that could be. There are those who say utopian thought is impossible or impractical because we are dealing with imperfect humanity, here’s the fly in that ointment. Many of the milestones of civilization began as utopian impossibilities and now they are taken for granted. I would like to suggest that the same can be true now given our current situation. Humanity has been on a century’s long trajectory towards increasing interdependence, it has not been a deliberate process just extraordinary circumstance that has facilitated this drift towards equilibrium. That said it can now be stated quite confidently that that process is now becoming increasingly more deliberate, we are planetizing and beginning to find a common ground (not that there won’t be setbacks along the way). The conjunction in Leo is a beautiful symbol of this logic, as it symbolizes us getting personal with one another. The Mercury-Uranus interaction speaks to cultivating an ability to rapidly change our mind and dominant mindsets in favor of new evidence and with mercury in Virgo it is deliberate and coming from a detailed analysis that has carefully considered the ecological and collective impacts of decision making tempered by the Uranus in Pisces understanding of having a more cosmic perspective. This ability to quickly change mindset is valuable in a rapidly changing world and acts as a counter-balance to the atavistic mentality we see many of our policy-makers currently aligning themselves with. The 21st century demands an adeptness at being able to learn and then unlearn concepts in an instant. It is a quality that need to be cultivated in each of us and in the mass of us, a more advanced world calls for more advanced thinking.

10/27: Culmination

Full Moon in Pisces

The months’ lunation will culminate with an ingress into the Virgo’s astrological counter-part, Pisces. This is a lunation that can bring the feel of cosmic scale feelings, if Pisces is the vast starry sky and Virgo the observer on the ground, than this lunation has brought with it an awareness of our broader place in the cosmos and also a sense of qualitative discernment which allows us to see the profound in the profane.

10/31: Halloween!!! Or if you follow the Witches calendar it’s Samhain, a time when ancestors are honored and we contemplate our own mortality.

See you next month space cadets!

Find me on Facebook at Prometheus, the Astrologer: https://www.facebook.com/Prometheusinthespaceage?ref=aymt_homepage_panel.

I also do readings just Private message me at the above link.

Tune in Sunday October 11th, at 10:30am and join my friend HiC Luttmers for an enlightening morning of philosophical musings and the recorded version of this blog at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fireflywillowslive

References:

Follow the Black Lives Matter Movement:  https:// www.blacklivesmatter.com

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Ling, J., (2015) Journalist are banned from Stephen Harper’s events and it’s stupid nonsense, Vice, retrieved September 2015, from: http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/stephen-harper-bans-journalists-from-his-events

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Morales, V., (2015) Experts: coming demographic shift will strengthen US culture, Voice of America, retrieved September 2015, from: http://www.voanews.com/content/coming-demographic shift-will-strengthen-us-culture/2701759.html

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Poggioli, S., (2015) As migrants stream in, Italy and the EU are at odds, National Public Radio retrieved September 2015, from: http://www.npr.org/2015/06/15/414561558/steady stream-of-migrants-heightens-tensions-between-italy-and-eu-partners

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